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Meeting of the Board of Regents | September 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009 - 9:20am

CE Committee Minutes

September 14, 2009

3:40 p.m. – 4:40 p.m., Regents Room




Regent James C. Dawson, Chair of the Cultural Education Committee, submitted the following written report.


Your Committee on Cultural Education had its scheduled meeting on September 14, 2009.

In attendance were: Regents Dawson, Bowman, Brooks Hopkins, Phillips. In addition to CE Committee Members, Board Members in attendance included Chancellor Tisch, Bennett, Bendit, Bottar, Cea, Cohen, Norwood, Tallon, and Young

Absent: Regent Tilles




Chairs’ Remarks: Regent Dawson greeted everyone and opened the meeting announcing two new temporary exhibits that are at the NYS Museum; Through the Eyes of Others and 1609.


Deputy’s Report: Deputy Commissioner Jeffrey Cannell greeted everyone and briefly mentioned the Deputy’s Monthly Report that was shared electronically with the Board of Regents prior to the September meeting.  Richard Trautwein, Office of Counsel, gave a brief update regarding the Rochester Historical Society. The requested information has been received and will be evaluated by staff.  Once all the information has been evaluated, a meeting will be scheduled with Regent Norwood, Vice Chancellor Cofield and Regent Dawson.


CE (D) 3: Report and Discussion on Office of Cultural Education Finances was delivered by Regent Dawson and Deputy Commissioner Cannell. The report focused on the status of the Cultural Education (CE) Account including declining revenues, the account’s negative cash balance as stated in the Regents Item and a request for the Regents’ assistance in seeking immediate and long-term solutions.


A written Report to the Board of Regents on the Cultural Education Account was provided to Board Members providing background information on the account including the severe decline of the revenue source supporting the CE Account that was compounded by significant annual fund transfers from the CE Account to non-OCE programs; a chart showing trends in CE Account revenue; and since the CE Account balance is fully depleted, steps that must be taken immediately.


It was noted that in March 2009, Assembly bill A-6783 and Senate bill S-3640 had been introduced but both bills stalled in Committee.


The floor was opened to discussions and included advocacy efforts and strategies to move forward – seeking solutions both immediate and long-term for the CE Account.


CE (D) 2: Talking Book and Braille Libraries (TBBL)

The report on TBBL was presented by Loretta Ebert, Director of the New York State Research Library and assisted by Sharon Phillips, Associate Librarian.  Ms. Ebert stated the New York State Library is the regional Talking Book and Braille Library for 55 Upstate counties and serves over 38,000 visually, physically or learning disabled readers. Seven downstate counties are served by the New York Public Library’s Andrew Heiskell Library and the Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk) Talking Book and Braille Library serving 20,000 visually, physically or learning disabled readers.  Readers receive, free of charge, cassette books, playback equipment and descriptive videos.


Ms. Ebert concluded her presentation speaking of a new format launched this year consisting of digital books and digital book readers, its technology and user friendliness, and BARD pilot program – a download service that will ultimately be available.


Discussions on revenue, funding sources, outreach efforts and consumers were also covered followed by Q and A.


CE (D) 1: Continuing 9/11 Documentation Efforts

Maria Holden, Chief of Archival Services reported on a new web site: 9/11 Memory and History What to Save and How and stressed the importance of historical record keeping.  Ms. Holden spoke of some of the components of the website and its user friendly formats.


Ms. Holden provided background information stating the Office of Cultural Education collaborated with other institutions, organizations and repositories in the New York City/Long Island area to preserve and document records of the World Trade Center disaster and its aftermath for future generations.   The NYS Museum has a major 9/11 collection which is the largest in the world including a traveling exhibit, that is now in France, containing objects that tell the story.  In addition, the NYS Archives played a vital role in documenting the 9/11 event – making sure that the historical record is complete, balanced and preserved.


Workshops were offered to families to help guide family members on how to preserve the story of their loved one and provided guidance on the process of turning their collection(s) over to a historical records repository when families were ready to do so. 


A Q and A period followed including brief discussion.


Meeting Adjourned at 3:35 p.m.